4 Months of Bad Hygiene, Bad Nutrition, Bad Classes, but in a Beautiful City Past Review

By (Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 01/26/2016 to 05/30/2016 with

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: Hong Kong - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to adapt to things I never thought I'd have to get used to (for example, the cleaning ladies cleaned the bathrooms by plunging the mops into the urinals and mopping the ground with it ... by the way this is a girl's bathroom... I wish I were lying). Somehow at HKUST doors can be broken (?!) and prevent you from getting places in a logical path and how to really look out for my nutrition and sunlight exposure because both of those were extremely difficult to maintain while in HK.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This university has little to no creative space for students (only one 3d printer and limited access to other prototyping equipment) and almost all classes were taught from powerpoint which is a terrible way to teach engineering classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Registration was a very confusing process and the on-site administration did not really help/advise in this very important area.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

NO HEATING DURING THE COLDEST MONTH IN 60 YEARS OF HONG KONG HISTORY. I thought I was going to get frostbite every time I went to sleep. Bathrooms were disgusting. We had to pay extra money for air conditioning when it finally did get warm and MY ROOM WAS INFESTED WITH MOLD WHICH THE MAINTENANCE NEVER ADDRESSED. Furthermore our fan was broken and we had to fix it ourselves because maintenance never responded to our request for that either.

* Food:

Very difficult to navigate most of the food options on campus. Severe lack of fresh vegetables and fruits and protein and fiber sources.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Local students essentially shunned non-Cantonese speakers.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Overall pretty safe city.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Only because this experience made me grow so much as a person.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I spent about 175 USD per week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about $175
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I didn't buy alcoholic drinks in Hong Kong but if you buy those regularly you will definitely be spending a lot more per week than I did.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Hiking in Hong Kong
  • Going to other Countries
  • The Other International students
* What could be improved?
  • hygiene (learn how to actually mop and clean bathrooms)
  • class structure (NO POWEROINTS)
  • academic advising and also this university has the slipperiest floors I have ever stepped on in my life and it's in the most humid city ever which is a REALLY bad comination
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That local students would ignore me and that professors would think I don't care about learning because I'm just an exchange student. And also that they have salads on campus at Milano Fresh which are totally worth waiting in line for.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!